Lafarge Zambia and Zambia Railways Limited have signed a transport agreement which will focus on an enhanced delivery of production inputs used in cement manufacture as well as deliver clinker and cement products within Zambia and the regional market. The agreement brings about a partnership that will complement other modes of transport, relieve some pressure off the roads as a result of heavy load low speed, whist promoting sustainability throughout the entire value chain.
Speaking at the signing ceremony held on Friday afternoon at Lafarge Zambia Head Office (HO), Chilanga, Lafarge Zambia Chief Financial Officer Mrs. Chrissie Moloseni said the agreement would create synergies that would benefit both Lafarge Zambia and Zambia Railways for the long term. Mrs. Moloseni reiterated Lafarge Zambia's commitment to upholding health and safety and hence the partnership with ZRL to help reduce risks on the roads.
"Today we continue to have a high fleet of trucks on our roads responsible for both inbound and outbound logistics, which is in excess of 500 trucks. The pressure exerted on the roads continues to be high as a result of this activity. Therefore, this partnership will relieve some pressure off our roads as it complements other modes of transportation currently in use today and we also anticipate to reduce the safety risk on the road', She said.
She further said the agreement would help reduce the cost of road maintenance and promote sustainable development.
"This will not only be a welcome development from a maintenance standpoint as Government continues to promote construction of road infrastructure but will also contribute to sustainable development. Carbon emission is relatively lower for every tonne of product dispatched via rail when compared with other modes of transportation that are in use today", she said.
Speaking at the same ceremony, the Zambia Railways Limited Chief Executive Officer, Mr Christopher Musonda said Zambia Railways was happy to sign the agreement with Lafarge Zambia to transport various commodities such as coal, gypsum, clinker and cement within Zambia and to the neighbouring countries such as Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Malawi and Tanzania. He reiterated the company's renewed focus on efficiency and highlighted that Zambia Railways had invested in new equipment and opened offices in DRC and other countries to help with the clearing process at the border areas. He said that ZRL was determined to help promote Zambia to become a commercial hub in the region and the company was positioning itself to help industry to benefit from this ambition.
Mr Musonda committed that ZRL would continue to deliver quality services to customers by adding value to the transport sector in Zambia and beyond.
"In an effort to meet the ever changing customer's needs, ZRL has come up with a transport model aimed at improving efficiency. The wagon model namely Wagon Monitoring and Control System (WAMCO) is designed in a way that will enable customers to have dedicated wagons for all movements thereby improving efficiency levels" he said.
The agreement will run for three years and is subject renewal.